Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Oct 2009 00:37 UTC
Features, Office In the comments on our editorial about language purism and the Psystar case, it became quite clear that language is a subject almost everyone has an opinion on - not odd if you consider that language is at the very centre of what makes us "human". Since this appears to be a popular subject, let's talk about the influence computing has had on two very minor aspects of the Dutch language.
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English frequently uses intonation alone to mark questions. Yet we get by without an opening question mark. You certainly don't need an opening exclamation point because neither language has special syntax for that (it is, in fact, entirely based on intonation and doesn't change the meaning of the sentence).

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javivi72 Member since:

I will not talk about English intonation because it is still a mistery to me.

However, Spanish intonation for both questions and exclamations requires that you rise your pitch at the very beginning and ending of the sentence (well, more or less, but you get the general idea). As we usually do not change neither the words nor their order when using those constructions, you do need a clue while reading; that is what the opening mark is for. Even more so as we tend to use very long sentences, with the closing mark possibly out of immediate sight.

I do not wish imply that they are needed in every language out there, but in Spanish they certainly are.

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